Supreme Court justices are not in the habit of schooling presidents about the ins and outs of the United States Constitution. It’s assumed that anyone who achieves such high office has a passing familiarity with our founding document.
But Joe Biden apparently needs some remedial learning. He had his administration send letters to state and local officials urging that they block unnecessary residential evictions after the high court’s 6-3 decision calling the president’s ban on evictions unconstitutional.
It’s the second time the court has said so, and Biden’s actions make it clear he doesn’t get it. In late June, the Supreme Court refused to extend the eviction moratorium that had been in place since March of 2020, citing overreach by the Centers for Disease Control. Justice Kavanaugh wrote for the majority: “[C]lear and specific congressional authorization [via new legislation] would be necessary for the CDC to extend the moratorium past July 31.”
The Biden administration letter to state and local authorities suggested they enact their own eviction moratoriums, noting that six states and the District of Columbia have already done so.
It said state and local courts should also require landlords to apply for rental assistance that was approved in COVID-19 legislation earlier this year before commencing eviction proceedings. The letter said the Treasury Department is working with state and local governments to get the aid “out the door and into the hands of renters and landlords.”
Unconstitutional means unconstitutional. The ball is clearly in Congress’s court — the same place it’s been since the pandemic began.
But democracy is just too hard for the left. It’s so much easier to have the courts take a shortcut through the law and dare the Supreme Court to quash it.
The Court’s eight-page unsigned opinion lifts a district court stay on its own injunction and makes unequivocally clear that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t come close to having legal authority to ban evictions. Landlords “not only have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits—it is difficult to imagine them losing,” the Court writes.
In fact, this is not a problem for the courts. It is a governing problem — namely, incompetent governing.
There are at least $42 billion in rental assistance sitting in state coffers waiting for state and local bureaucrats to get the money to people who need it — renters who are on the verge of being evicted. Congress has taken action to address the problem. But activists are weeping for the “millions facing eviction” because the Supreme Court decided to impose a little constitutional order on the process.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the opinion last June that spanked the president for his constitutional ignorance.
“The CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination,” the Court explains. “It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.” Under the government’s argument, there’s no limiting principle to CDC authority.
“No limiting principle”? It’s almost like Kavanaugh was using flashcards to school a slow learner in the classroom.
“Could the CDC, for example, mandate free grocery delivery to the homes of the sick or vulnerable? Require manufacturers to provide free computers to enable people to work from home? Order telecommunications companies to provide free high-speed Internet service to facilitate remote work?” the opinion muses.
The left has stupidly decided to make the eviction moratorium part of their “compassion theater,” which substitutes for constitutional government. They are in the wrong. They know it. But they can’t resist the siren call of social justice.
Perhaps Kavanaugh shouldn’t have given the left any ideas about what they can do next to “help people.”